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From managing your own emotions to getting there and back safely, these experiences might be useful for any dad or partner preparing for birth

1. The pre-hospital panic

“On the way to the hospital, I wanted to speed like a boy racer. On the way back, I was more like a granddad – super-slow, with my gorgeous baby in the back.”

2. Helplessness

“I went through a cycle of worry and bewilderment. I didn’t have a clue how to be useful, or what to say that wouldn’t sound patronising or stupid.”

3. Hunger pangs

We packed lots of snacks for her but forgot I’d need something to eat too. I resorted to the vending machine, then I spotted a pizza delivery man in the lift – why didn’t I think of that?!”

4. Occasional boredom (with attached guilt)

“It sounds absolutely awful, but my wife had such a long and drawn out labour that I couldn’t help feeling quite bored for a lot of it… Don’t tell her I said that.”

5. An out-of-body experience…

“I felt like I was in a dream. It was all so beyond my control – I was just worried watching my brave wife in pain.”

6. …and a chance of stress. Lots of stress.

“For most of it, I kept thinking about how I hoped we’d never have to go through it again. It was pretty much the most unfunny thing that has ever happened to me.”

7. Total, utter happiness…

“The moment my midwife held the baby up, it was like a switch going on inside of me. I saw his face for the first time, and something just clicked.”

8. …though sometimes not immediately

“I don’t think I bonded with my baby straight away – maybe it was a form of the ‘baby blues’, but I’ve definitely fallen for him as I’ve got to know him better.”

9. But, ultimately, you’ll never know a love like it

“When I took my baby in my arms, there’s only one way I could describe it: absolute, pure love.”

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